“When I go to sleep at night right now, I’m as financially nervous as I was 20 years ago.”- Will Smith, actor
Yep… that’s me, too. Foreboding finances. I know it well.
I first learned about the feelings of “foreboding” from Brené Brown when she said:
“Joy is the most vulnerable emotion we experience. And if you cannot tolerate joy, what you do is you start dress rehearsing tragedy.” –Brene Brown
The dictionary defines “foreboding” as a noun implying:
“fearful apprehension; a feeling that something bad will happen.”
Brown, describes the feeling as “terrifying.” And in the middle of the night, I can tell you, it is.
Foreboding joy for me manifests in my financial life. I rehearse financial disaster in the dark hours of the night. I see visions of my bank accounts dropping, or my credit cards being overwhelming, and I attempt to mentally calculate the potential money I might have coming in.
Will it work? Can I make it? I never resolve it in the wee hours, and I wake up with the fear there’s not enough.
I’ve lived through some pretty successful times in my life. My husband, David, and I were in the entertainment business, and we had a lot of success. But, at the core of it all was our family.
No one could have predicted that one day might change it all. On that tragic day, we lost our firstborn son to a sudden illness. Six years later our marriage died, and six years after that, my husband died.
Even though I helped my husband with every script he ever wrote, I had no visibility as a writer on my own, and I needed an income quick.
I decided to move my family out of LA and start from the ground up with a new job in real estate. It’s not easy being an entrepreneur. It takes lots of self-motivation and unlimited drive. David and I had that together, but now I was on my own. I rose up through the ranks earning great commissions, thinking… I got this!
I learned how quickly a great income could change to a limited income when the housing crisis hit in 2008.
I had to get creative to make it all work. I was a single mom raising my three living children, plus one I fostered from 5th grade on. My real estate income was now unsteady, unpredictable, and scary as hell.
But the tough times taught me resourcefulness.
Did I really need a new jacket, or could I make something old feel new again by adding a different blouse? I’d make meals that I could transform into a new menu on the second night. And when we’d go out to eat, we skipped soft drinks and drank water instead.
Sometimes I had to float the income with credit cards, and it wasn’t easy, but I learned always to pay them off first before I bought anything new.
I believe those times taught my kids resourcefulness, too. They never made financial demands, but instead cooperated with the household running on what income there was.
How Will Smith flipped the switch for me.
In 2010, my last two were ready to leave the nest. I was set to resign as a fulltime single mom. I still had financial responsibilities with them, but the stress of massive grocery bills and day-to-day expenses was about to change.
Yet… I still suffered foreboding around finances.
I happened to catch an interview with the actor, Will Smith, on Oprah. He shared his frustration with what he called “a poor person’s mentality.” (at 18:30 min. on the video)
He said, “When I go to sleep at night right now, I’m as financially nervous as I was 20 years ago.” He was working on “shaking” that mindset. He was tired of living with it.
And so was I! No matter how much money I had in the bank. I still had foreboding money issues.
My father and mother were of the “survival generation.” As long as I can remember they felt we had one foot in the poor house. Dad would say, “Money doesn’t grow on trees!”
And that thought carried into my adult life. Like Will Smith, I’d lay awake at night worrying about money.
His interview shocked me. It was clear there was not enough money in the world to take away his fear. Look at his accomplishments! Was that not enough to bring him daily peace of mind?
And what about my accomplishments… I raised my kids on my own! I supported our home! I helped nurture my children with love and helped them shape a healthy attitude about money… but I couldn’t do it for myself.
“Faith is born of gratitude. The grateful mind continually expects good things, and expectation becomes faith.” –Wallace D. Wattles, The Science of Getting Rich
I learned a valuable lesson during the years of the real estate crisis… No one and no career is immune to the ups and downs of life, but it always cycles back if you have faith.
During the “down” time, I got creative looked for additional streams of income as a backup plan. I made jewelry and did some interior decorating during the tough years. It opened the doors to new friendships and business alliances.
I lied to myself.
It occurred to me, on those dark nights of fear… I had lied to myself. There was, in fact, enough money. I look back on it now and realize I managed to give my kids a pretty great life. We even took vacations! They never felt afraid there wasn’t enough… because there always was.
But my mind couldn’t see it. I had lots of proof that I didn’t have to be “financially nervous” all the time. I was just like Will Smith; I had to work on changing the fear with a new mindset.
Shift foreboding finances to unlimited potential.
If you have fear, even when things are great, then it’s time to work on your financial mindset.
In the book, The Big Leap, Gay Hendricks asks, “How much love and abundance are you willing to allow? He didn’t say how much love and abundance can you stand, but how much are you willing to allow?
I had to ask myself if I was willing to accept the possibility that I could reset my financial thermostat instead of creating so many disaster stories in my head.
How many disaster stories have lived inside your head?
Author Hendricks says there’s only one way to get through the fog of fear, and that’s to transform it into the clarity of exhilaration.
Life is at its best when love, money, and creativity are growing in harmony.
It was time for me to show gratitude and exhilaration for what I had achieved…
In 2010, I began a morning practice. I started with a spiritual “download.” I read inspirational books or listen to motivating podcasts, then I meditate, and journal after that.
I was on the attack.
Once I decided to attack foreboding finances full on, I started reading The Science of Getting Rich, by Wallace D. Wattles, written in 1910. It’s a short book, but oh so powerful when you finally understand that you have the power to change your thoughts about finances.
Our financial thermostat is programmed at an early age. We often borrow from our parents’ belief about money. Those old beliefs dominate our present minds.
What is a belief? It’s a thought you have recurring in your head over and over again until it becomes what you truly believe. Some beliefs are good, and others haunt you like a bad dream. I decided to work on “discharging” my bad beliefs about money and create a new set of beliefs. But first I had to ask this question:
How much love, happiness, and abundance am I willing to allow?
Each time you consciously allow yourself to break through your financial thermostat, you get to enjoy life a little more… along with the love, success, money, creativity, and the joy of being present in your life without worry.
Discharge the foreboding finance problem.
You no longer need that belief hanging around to grab you in the night.
How do you dissolve the glass ceiling of your financial thermostat?
All of it proves to the “inner you” that you’re ready for a new, unlimited thermostat where all is possible.
I’m still working on this financial mindset reset…. And I’m pretty sure Will Smith is too.
Break the Pattern
But now, when I wake up at night and my mind wrestles out of control, I interrupt my thoughts and take them to another place.
I get out of bed, fix a cup of tea, then crawl back into bed with an inspirational book and dream of better things than bank accounts… like surprising my kids with a trip to Hawaii, or having my next book hit the best seller list. All of these things are doable if you allow yourself to believe that your thoughts shape your future… and the only way they can is by taking action, one step at a time.
“People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself. ” — Marcus Aurelius
Lives and careers have cycles. There’s no magic number or perfect career that gives peace of mind because life isn’t about a number. It’s about following your heart, doing something you love, and expressing love every single day.
Thanks for reading! If you’ve got creativity on your mind… I have a complimentary sample for you. A short ebook on how to establish some simple habits to set your creativity on fire: How to Develop the Creative Mindset.
**Previously published on Medium**